A Rebellious Scot to Crush

FeaturedA Rebellious Scot to Crush

The Ballot is stronger than the Bullet

I have just recovered from a dreadful cold, the kind that means you read a lot but don’t speak much. I began a very different piece from this during the GE17 campaign. But as everyone knows real life gets in the way of plans and I had to start again. I don’t need to tell you how exasperated I was when Madam May called her shoddy election in April, I thought then it was a cynical attempt to capitalise on the division that is showing itself in this country. But now we’re on the far side of that decision is it possible to see that election period for what it was? It was the most assaulting period in my memory and I remember Thatcher, Major and the big let down that was Blair- i even remember 9/11 and the hell that unleashed on the world. No- since the election was called it has been like the genie has escaped the bottle and it has been running mayhem all around!

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The political race was as unpleasant as it ever has been, with the Tories shouting out the ‘Strong and Stable/ Coalition of Chaos’ mantra for all to yawn at. Then the 22nd of May 2017 came… a date which for some will always haunt them, for most the attack in Manchester which killed 22 men, women and children attending a pop concert. Somehow until that point these attacks, although terrible you could in some ways get that however the circumstances people die. But this attack really shook me- Manchester was a placed I lived for University. I used to wander the streets listening to my iPod, enjoying getting lost and finding new way home. It was a safe place, a place where being on your own never meant you where at threat. Hearing the terrible news of the attack at a pop concert made me physically ill. All I could think of was how that city I knew so well would be changed and then to hear that children were killed made me not want to know anymore. I have children, my 8-year-old daughter loves her music; all I could think was how easily it could have been my child. In that moment everything changed for me- the attacks we had all come to shake our heads at and carry on- were now too close for comfort.

The political climate also changed in those following days- the seed of the present Hung Parliament was most definitely planted then, when Mrs May was shown for true colours. A hopeless state of a leader, without any shred of humanity showing through her robotic body language and doll-like eyes. She tried to hang Jeremy Corbyn out to dry by his very gentle Irish republican roots. All it did was show that Jeremy Corbyn for all his flaws is in fact a human being. Like Churchill said ‘if you have enemies it means you’ve stood up for something’! Corbyn isn’t my candidate for leader, I want an independent Scotland, he won’t help me achieve that. The thing that has people flocking to Corbyn is his humanity; his ability to show people his feelings and to never abandon his principles when they become inconvenient. The biggest criticism a BBC QT audience could find in him was that he wasn’t willing to use Nuclear weapons as a first strike option. TBH I want a leader who talks rather than bombs, Mrs May showed her lack of empathy and need to control by failing to debate her policies with the electorate. She sank the Tory boat with a manifesto which would hit her core voters hardest and then refused to debate the issue- instead she flung out a series of Tory MPs or in some case now ex-MPs to defend what they didn’t believe. The Tory ship was sinking and Mrs May was rearranging the deck chairs!

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So when the London Bridge and Borough Market attack came on 3rd June 2017, we had a government in crisis trying to tell the electorate that the opposition was the problem. They were hoping that an electorate could be frightened into ignoring the fact that the wannabe PM ran the Home Office for 6 of the last 10 years and had presided over cuts to funding of vital services from a Party who views austerity as a political philosophy. Once again we heard platitudes about these terrorists not being allow to disrupt Democracy. They may have killed and injured people and scared many more with what they experienced but the election went ahead on June 8th 2017 and the hammer fell on Mrs May’s idea of an increased majority, to strengthen her hand. Instead she has ended up looking like the chicken whose head was chopped off but whose body hadn’t got the message it was dead! Her hubris has led her party to a loss of its majority and a country into a hung parliament which it didn’t need. Only she is to blame for mess we’re all in, her party is to blame for Brexit (which was an issue that never needed to be looked at) but who’se to blame for those terrible human beings who murdered people just living their lives? A much harder Question for this mere mortal to answer.

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The country returned a hung parliament and i was one of those on Election night cheering at the idea of the Tories being scalped. But in the cold light of day what are we left with- a barely breathing tory government being given life support by a 10 strong group of DUP MPs. Surely this scenario is the stuff of which nightmares are made! The bare fact is that the Troubles; as the war in the North of Ireland was so quaintly known, only came to an end with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. This agreement which was born from such travail and cost so much to so many, may be torn apart by one woman’s need to call a pointless election for her own vainglorious ego! That aforementioned agreement depends on the Irish and British governments being honest brokers, trusted by either side. How can the British Government now be said to be non-partisan; when they are beholden to the DUP for their 10 votes in the British House of Commons. When Grenfell Tower in the Royal Borough caught fire on June 14th 2017, the fiery tower could be seen as the living image of a country in burning itself to ashes. More people died in that tower than in the terror attacks before and after it to date. It is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with politics and with society, were profit is put before people, were responsibility is a dirty word and no one in power (which we gave them) can give an honest answer. Therefore when a crackpot decided to drive from Wales to Finsbury Park in London to kill Muslims, were we surprised anymore? Maybe only that it took so long for the far right in Britain to spit out one its dysfunctional toe rags/ wannabe terrorists. He took a life, the fire took lives; so many that we may never know all their names and the terrorists who claim Islam as the reason also took so many lives. I cannot help but feel that we’re being pushed inch by inch, incident by incident, vote by vote towards an abyss.

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With today being Princess Diana’s 56th birthday and this year being 20 years since her death, it brought me to thinking about Rumi the Persian scholar and poet: he wrote “And so it is, that both the Devil and the Angelic spirit present us with objects of desire to awaken our power of choice”. That is perhaps were we are at as a society- we each have a choice to make. It is after all a choice between what we want and what we need. It’s like Abe Lincoln said ‘the ballot is stronger than the bullet’. We should all hope that Abe’s sentiment is right and that somehow cooler heads prevail.

A Rebellious Scot To Crush

FeaturedA Rebellious Scot To Crush

“Misery Acquaints A Man With Strange Bedfellows”

Never did I think in all my days would I join any political party, I don’t believe they can generally be trusted! HOWEVER- Prime Minister Theresa May has become my own personal recruiting Sergeant! She galvanised me when she called her cynical General Election for the 8th of June 2017! Today I join the SNP- I voted SNP in both Parliamentary elections in the recent past, I voted Yes to Independence, I vote Remain in the Brexit Referendum! BUT I do remember waking up in May 2007, with two things on my mind:

  1. One I had a college graded unit exam (which I got an A in btw). I was bricking it!
  2. The SNP had the numbers to make a minority government in the Scottish Parliament-at that point I groaned- the SNP in charge WTF had happened!

I can take a retrospective guess, Scottish Labour was beginning to lose ground in a country where the Labour Vote was in the past ‘weighed’! Iraq was probably to blame- I voted Lib Dem that election! Having lost a school friend in Iraq, Labour had and does have blood on their hands! They got cocky and entitled, believing Scotland would always be theirs.

So fast forward to 2011, I didn’t vote for first time- I was not convinced by anybody and I was in hospital having my son! That said I felt amazed and in fact pleased the SNP won a majority! Despite not being a die hard nationalist- I have always been Scottish and a very very very distant second British! I want the chance to vote on Scottish Independence- that referendum campaign pushed me more and more towards the SNP and when Labour and the Lib Dems stood on a platform with Tories, I was done with the pair of them! I was with SNP in spirit if not by name!

Perhaps it’s Nicola Sturgeon who has impressed me most, a calm clear head woman of principle! The antithesis of Maggie Thatcher (the best and worst thing to ever happen to Scotland in years), Nicola is forthright, socially aware and above all not out for the modern day robber Barons! In the ensuing elections the SNP got my vote! In truth I believe the SNP have politicised a generation of Scottish people, into believing their vote matters! We have become one of the most politically aware nations in Europe. That was the independence Ref that did it, the positive view of an independent Scotland and the lack of mud slinging from the SNP side!

More recently I have made use of my local MP (Chris Stephens) when I found myself up against very unfair and downright under hand tactics! He provided the help and support needed, in all it gave me faith that maybe politicians are human after all (well some are- I have no idea what Boris is). The Tories have always been a true enemy of mine- the self serving bias towards wealth and the cabal of little Englanders have no place in Scotland. The Tory’s have stoked division and discrimination for years for their own political gain- austerity as punished the very people who DIDN’T cause the recession, their economic policy has been revealed as nothing more than an extension of their philosophical ideas (if your poor or disadvantaged it must be your fault). They have shamelessly exploited migrants to their own ends and landed us with a Brexit that Scotland didn’t ask or vote for!

With Cameron falling on his own sword we ended up with Mrs May, a woman whose voting record stinks- see below!

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She is unfit to run a bath let alone a country, hand wringing with Trump and making capital out of a Labour Party mess makes her look like a snake in the grass! To tell Scotland’s sovereign parliament that now is not the time for a second Scottish Independence Referendum and then within weeks ask for General Election is breathtaking in its arrogance. When you have the Tories spouting nonsense about the SNP being obsessed with Independence and then in almost the same argument going on about Brexit like some madly obsessed teenager it is flabbergasting!

If Mrs May was a proper leader she would get on with the job of giving those Tax cuts to the rich and making women have to endure interrogations based on the conception of their 3rd child. Instead she’s making the most out of Labour’s internal chaos, whilst asking the people to return no opposition to Parliament because she wants unity! Is this woman a dictator in kitten heels? Our democracy depends on a robust opposition which the Labour Party just can’t provide! The Labour Party are dead in the water, Corbyn is just its undertaker, he’s a protester not a leader! He’s a shambles of politician having his strings pulled by a man like Seamus Milne, a public schooled Stalin apologist! With people like that in the Labour Party who needs the Tories!!!!

In conclusion I became a member of a political today to put my money and principals where my mouth is- I want a Tory free Scotland, I want a free democratic Independent Scotland for my children. Most of all I want a country and government that looks out to opportunities the world and its people offer rather than indoctrinating people with fear, intolerance and suspicion! I am a Scot, a European and a Human Being- neither the Labour Party nor the Toxic Tories represent me! Only the SNP tick those boxes!

Vote SNP, Vote for Scotland and Make a difference!

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Jo Nesbo The Thirst out April 20th!!!!

FeaturedJo Nesbo The Thirst out April 20th!!!!

Last night my Mama and I attended the advanced release of Jo Nesbo’s latest Harry Hole book: The Thirst! Now I haven’t read it and I shall as soon as I’m done with another Scandi Noir book- but I am jumping at reading a book about as Jo said himself “clinical vampirism- drinking someone’s blood is extremely intimate”. Yeah intimate and bat shit crazy, so it makes complete sense that Harry would have to deal with this latest crazy!

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Jo Nesbo was being interviewed as part of Glasgow’s Aye Write Book Festival, by author Denise Mina! He revealed himself to be self-deprecating and highly amusing, in fact I can imagine Jo being a very good bloke to have a drink with! He spoke about how he wrote the first draft of The Bat in only 5 weeks, set in Australia because he was there! How he like to write in a coffee shop near his home and how writing came naturally to him, more so than his desire to play the guitar. The highlight of the evening was his response to a question from the audience, ‘Does he enjoy watching his work on stage and screen and what does he think of it?’ He said he felt like a “gynaecologist being asked if his last patient was sexy” he just can’t make that choice because he sees them as two separate animals!

All in all listening to Jo and and getting The Thirst before it’s release was fab (and getting him to sign it)! I can’t wait to read it and it most certainly will be a distraction from the political convulsions in the U.K. right now!

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I’ll be back with a review shortly… when I’ve finished with Jussi Adler Ohlsen!

Ciao

A Rebellious Scot to Crush

FeaturedA Rebellious Scot to Crush

I want to break free…

When I first started to write this article, the first in my Rebellious Scot series, Brexit had just begun, with Article 50 being triggered. Mrs May gave two fingers to Scotland’s sovereign parliament when it requested a second independence referendum. With all that hardly digested and with a dose of Easter treats on top, today; Tuesday 18th April, Mrs May hit the ‘beloved Union of Nations’ we call Great Britain with ANOTHER General Election on the 8th of June! So much for Fixed Term Parliaments!

Two things I must say:

  1. I predicted this outcome not two days ago-with the Labour in the cat fight of its life, Auld Tessie would need to be fresh out of bedlam to miss this opportunity!
  2. It’s Brexit or bust, opening that box might just have severed the chains on the unicorn (Scotland’s National Animal)! Keep with it folks- it’s a metaphor! Nicola Sturgeon has the Toxic Tories over a barrel!

Looking from the outside, Mrs May played a total cynical game today- so is hoping and praying on her Church of England knees that Corbyn is as much a joke to voters as he is to his parliamentary party! And there she was less than a three weeks ago saying Sturgeon was obsessed with Independence- at any cost or price! Now the leopard print kitten heel is on the other foot, it’s not obsession with Brexit that’s driving this calculated move, it national unity! I hate to be the person telling her, Scottish voters aren’t going to swallow that bull, she’s obsessed about removing any opposing opinion to Brexit- that is called a dictatorship! Thing is we Scots have practice with this kind of dictatorship, 18 years of Tory rule will do that! This is perhaps Scotland’s best chance to break free!

However with 1 MP in Scotland to the SNP’s 56, she runs the risk of winning the Battle of Brexit but the price will be the end of 300 years of Union with Scotland! I want independence for my country, it’s no joke that second to last line of the UK national anthem talks about ‘rebellious Scots to crush’! Scotland has been ignored and betrayed by successive Westminster Governments, both Labour and Tory alike, our destinies are along different paths! I like my neighbours but they start dumping rubbish in my yard, I’ll get pissed- the same applies to Scotland!

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However distasteful I’d vote for pig wearing a SNP rosette to get independence, I have no personal loyalty to the SNP, but for a brighter better future for Scotland they are the only way to see that day dawn. Since 2014 I will have been in the voting booth a total of 6 times! I’d vote again if it meant I could exercise my hard earned right to choose my country’s future. Brexit is a non-issue that the tories have been arguing about for years, John Major had it right when he called the euro-skeptic troublemakers ‘bastards’! In my town we’d say “a shower of shite”, they have forced this issue on frightened, cash strapped people- telling them they’re poor or disadvantaged because of migrants! NO NO NO- people are poor and disadvantaged because the Toxic Tories give tax cuts to Millionaires, cut benefits and social housing funding and pull funding from hospitals and schools!

Labour are unelectable in Britain let alone Scotland, Tony Blair ain’t all that is to blame- he’s war mongering champagne socialist! They became too confident in Scottish support and we Scottish Lion roared and wiped them out in 2015! They are a joke top to bottom- I won’t have any friggin public school boy telling me what’s best for my country! Sadly the SNP are the only lions that roar back at Westminster and put our agenda on the table- by hook or crook!

I want a better future for that little girl and boy in the picture above, not just because I’m they’re Mama, but because I want them to grow up in country were they’re vote matters, our issues aren’t ignored and government’s with 1 MP can’t force us into wars and or other menaces!

Today when I found out about the Snap Election, a BBC reported asked Brenda, a typical woman of a certain age from Bristol- she said it all: far too much politics going on!!! Go with Brenda- she talks sense!

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza

FeaturedLast Breath by Robert Bryndza

5⭐️ Review from NetGalley

So Erika Foster returns in this new and amazing installation of in Robert Bryndza’s electric series! This is another well-written and extremely well paced story, as I’ve personally come to expect from the writer but surprisingly I read this in record time- less than 24hrs! Dark Water was my personal high point but Last Breath steals the crown! It’s a book that truly sucks you in and refuses to let your brain go free until you finish!!! My own baby (whose name is Erika- can you guess why?) enjoyed her bedtime feed whilst I shamelessly followed another Erika around!

This book has a fantastic group of characters, and finely balances the work and pleasure aspects of them- Erika in this book is revealed even further; perhaps even showing a warmer side than ever before. Despite this softer side being revealed, she is still the kick-ass Erika we have all come to know and love! Her ability to become SIO despite rubbing every superior up the wrong way with her rule breaking is miraculous but her selection of Moss, McGorry, Crane et al makes this story familiar! The crime however is your typical modern nightmare, social media becomes the perfect hunting ground for twisted piece of work, entrapping gorgeous females! He’s not Prince Charming that’s for certs, torture rather than tiffins is on his mind! Almost uniquely in Last Breath, the identity of this creep is known quite early on, you get to view things from his twisted perspective and the cat and mouse aspect makes for riveting reading!

Bryndza’s style of pacing and dripping information to Erika and her colleagues makes the story flow elegantly, in fact I’d say it whips up the last quarter of the book into a reading frenzy! When the end comes; you’re hit with conflict, the end is running at you full throttle and you want to see it through but you at the same time the end means saying goodbye to Erika and co again!

So in concluding this is an outstanding effort once again, Erika is revealed more and ok she gets away with a little more than is perhaps possible in reality but for me she’s a absolute hero and I’d let her away with more. I cannot wait for more from the author, the Erika Foster series has become my crime fiction favourite!

A note to newbies: this series doesn’t need to be followed in order, but if you’d like to chart character development then start with Girl in the Ice! Read all and don’t look back!

An arc for a fair review!!!

Grand National 2017

FeaturedGrand National 2017

So it’s National Day at Aintree and for many it’s a wonderfully exciting race of beautiful animals showing their skills! Other will say it’s a horrendous display of animal cruelty! For me it’s the former and for people who subscribe to the latter- I direct to you to any video of Red Rum at the National. If ever there needed to be proof of a horses willingness to race, he was the horse! Some race’s make the horse, in the the case of Red Rum, he made the National!

Today I place my annual bet on two horses- one to win the other each way! I was taught to read the Form by my grandfather and he must have taught me well! I have in the past had 7 winners and 5 placed! This year I have place Highland Lodge – and Cause of Causes to win- but tbh I suspect that it may be another horse all together that wins! But my Highland Lodge should place with the ground suiting so well!

The race kicks off at 17.15pm GMT, I hope for a good return, a fantastic race but most of all I hope the starting 40 make it round safely!

SoI update this with the news that I came 2nd and 4th! But on the positive side One for Arthur won and he’s a Scottish beauty and all the riders and horses a well after the National!!

Bernie rides again to a Five⭐️ Review!!!

FeaturedBernie rides again to a Five⭐️ Review!!!

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the ARC!!!

The praise for this book cannot be high enough- I am biased due to my long time love all things Bernie Gunther! This book doesn’t let long time fans down but I also feel it does allow for people who are new to this book series to enter this world! The title of this book refers to antidote for Thalium, whereby Bernie is involved in another criminal enterprise! The success of this series is the character of Bernie- he’s very much a man who is neither saint nor sinner and so you as the reader can live vicariously through him without feeling compromised. He is often caught in the web of Nazi or Stasi intrigue but he never loses his own humanity! Prussian Blue is set across two timelines separated by 17 years and this serves to show that despite the end of the Nazi era, nothing has fundamentally changed! It is a wonderfully intricate story, with excellent character details and a fabulous sense of time and place! Despite this being #12 in the series, it shows that good writing and a character who walks off the page, never has sell by date! I’m waiting for more Mr Kerr!!!

I cannot recommend this series of books enough, it satisfies both historical and crime fiction readers in abundance! Personally I’d love to see this book series on the big screen but in the mean time, I read these books and hope that Bernie goes on forever!

Arc for unbiased review!

Know Your History…

FeaturedKnow Your History…

Terror visited the streets of Westminster, the hallowed seat of British power, on March 22nd 2017! This attack however disgusting and barbaric is not a first for the Palace of Westminster, I’m thinking of the gun powder plot and the Blitz. Despite this type of attack being nothing new, past attacks like those this week show threats to democracy will always fail. The whisper of truth is always more powerful than the shouting of lies and yet the old phrase that the lie is half way around the world before the truth has its boots on, is still on my mind.

This past week in the U.K. there was the attack on Westminster but also there was the funeral of Martin McGuinness. He was a former IRA member and a former deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, he was in a word- complicated. Much like the ‘Troubles’ that he participated in directly and the new world that he helped build in the North of Ireland. When you have someone like Norman Tebbit, giving his tuppence worth to any media outlet who will listen, calling McGuinness ” a coward who never atoned for his crimes”. I’m left wondering if people like Tebbit are the reason the past is never laid to rest, why the world keeps allowing the same mistakes over and over again. Tebbit wishes McGuinness “an eternity in hell”, no doubt because an IRA bomb paralysed his wife, a torment for her but nothing less than plain old revenge for him.

Whereas surely Martin McGuiness’ life teaches much more about the possibilities of life, rather than it’s horrors! I don’t discount or forget what the IRA did during and after the Troubles, your past isn’t forgiven because you turn your back on violence. McGuinness didn’t ask for forgiveness; but he did do something that until he made the choice was impossible- the removal of the gun from the politics of Northern Ireland. Norman (get on your bike) Tebbit, is a Tory- to the rest of the world that means a person who believes that greed is good, if you’re poor it’s because you don’t work hard enough and in Tebbit’s case forgiveness is a sign of weakness!

The reporting on the BBC this week about the death of Martin McGuinness, was both enlightening and infuriating. Firstly his death demonstrated just how far the North really has come from the Good Friday Peace of 1998! If Ian Paisley, a man who symbolised the Unionist position could shake his hand, share a joke and an office and his wife could say about Martin; “you don’t know what god used on Martin McGuinness, but he did change”! Then that’s the ultimate sign of changed times, it wasn’t quite the damascene conversion that Lady Paisley envisioned but the DUP leader Arlene Foster turning up at his funeral in Free Derry and receiving a round of applause! 20 years ago in Derry you wouldn’t have heard applause, only gunfire!

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Martin McGuinness’ Funeral

Having visited Derry and Belfast a couple of years ago, it’s fair to say that on the ground things have changed, Stuarty and I stayed in once the most bombed hotel in Europe, the Europa. A very fine establishment, across from an even better pub! However we did go to Derry, we had a lovely lunch and then visited the Free Derry Bloody Sunday museum! Without going on full rant, it is museum based on the terrible events of a civil rights march in January 1972, whereby catholic citizens of Derry were protesting the gerrymandering of the political process, by unionists. It’s not called Bloody Sunday because it was day of traffic disruption, it was so-called because British Paratroopers opened fire on the marchers and killed 14 of them!

For years the British government stonewalled everybody, stating that the IRA opened fire on the ‘Brits’ first and that some of those shot were brandishing weapons. Only now more than 40 years later do we have it confirmed, what many long suspected, that these people were complete innocents. And that the British Army committed nothing more or less than murder on the streets of Derry that day. Now this is the setting of McGuinness’ life! When viewed from that perspective, his willingness to shake hands with members of the British Establishment and to join with the unionists for the sake of peace, seems extraordinary. No more extraordinary than the unionists agreeing to power share with a former IRA man. For nobody with any power in Northern Ireland, doesn’t have blood on their hands. McGuinness teaches a valuable lesson, that any progress requires both sides to set aside prejudices and notions of revenge for a better future.

People like that nutcase who killed people in Westminster, will never win, never see their way come to pass, because it takes courage to forgive! It doesn’t mean you forget, it doesn’t mean that everybody agrees; all it means it that there has to be something better than an eye for eye- it only serves to make the whole world blind! Martin McGuinness showed he was the master of his own fate, men like Tebbit will be weighed down by their hate and those so-called soldiers of Islam can never achieve their aims. McGuinness was not a perfect man, he never claimed to be, but his life and indeed his death shows, that even the most complicated of people can in the end provide the simplest of examples! So that even in these times were the Northern Irish Assembly is in turmoil, people are still talking and trying to reach a compromise and they’re not reaching for bombs and guns.

So in closing this past week has shown the complexity of human beings; in their capacity for cruelty and their capacity to care! To me in these times of Trump and Brexit, it makes me think there are more good people than bad, more positive forces than negative and more reason and sense than prejudice and hate. It’s just that they shout the loudest, it doesn’t however make it true!

N.B. I do not own these images- Fair Useage and All that Jazz…

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Candles on Westminster Bridge

Indyref2 the joys!

FeaturedIndyref2 the joys!

For those people not in the know the above references the calling of second Scottish Independence Referendum. For the record I’m a nationalist, I want Scotland to return to its natural state; an independent country! However I feel like I’ve not been away from the polling booth in the past few years; two national elections, two referendums, the local elections coming in May and now the prospect of another Referendum in the next 18 months. Oh the joys of democracy, the worst form of Government- except for all the others!

So here we are, 12 hours in and already the keyboard warriors are out in force! I am sure that whilst I will have more than enough to say on the matter as the weeks and months pass, I really wish that people would just remember what vitriol and division can do. The murder of Jo Cox before the Brexit Ref last June, shows that despite the majority of people being well meaning; there are those people who will use these huge national debates for their own twisted ends. For the sake of us all in this beautiful country we call home; I hope it ends well and of course Independence for Scotland prevails.